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The Rugrats Movie, as the title says, is the first of three movies based on the Klasky Csupo-produced Nickelodeon cartoon Rugrats. It was the third theatrical film released by Nickelodeon Movies and also their first animated one. It would also be the first non-Disney animated feature to gross $100 million (a record later shattered by Shrek in 2001).
Released between the show's fifth and sixth seasons, the plot concerns the Rugrats having to deal with an unhappy amount of changes that have come as a result of the birth of Tommy's new baby brother, Dil (who for some reason can't talk like the rest of them). Tommy feels he's being neglected by his parents in favor of Dil, and the other babies feel he's an obnoxious clingy twit. Things get worse when the babies get stranded in the forest with Stu's new toy, the Reptar Wagon, and a bunch of monkeys who have escaped from a traveling circus. Will the babies learn to cope with Dil and make it back home? Well, seeing how the show continued on for about five more years after this and they made a Spin-Off depicting the kids' life as tweenagers, the answer should be pretty obvious.
This film contains examples of:
- Adults Are Useless: Averted for a change...
- Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The movie has "Winter's Review" by SHAZNA as its Japanese theme song.
- Big Damn Heroes: Spike, just as the wolf is ready to pounce.
- Chuckie, Phil and Lil have one, using the Reptar Wagon to rescue Tommy and Dil from the monkeys.
- Big Damn Movie: The show never had the babies going on this kind of adventure.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Angelica Pickles, all the way.
- Book Ends: Began and ended with the "Okeydokey Jones" game of pretend
- Clothing Damage: Each of the rugrats especially Angelica's outfits get damaged while in the woods, Stu's also gets damaged when he crashes through the shed on his Dactar plane.
- The Complainer Is Always Wrong: The reason for most of the plot - the twins are tired of Dil and want to take him back to the hospital. It's subverted after they leave Tommy and Dil in the forest.
- Cousin Oliver: Dil. After all, this is his debut.
- Creator Backlash: Former co-creator Paul Germain (Who, at the time, had already left Nickelodeon to work for Disney) has mixed feelings for the film, thinking that some moments, such as Stu giving the watch to Tommy, didn't work, as the babies and adults weren't suppossed to communicate, and that he was upset that now Dil was introduced at the begining, as Tommy is suppossed to be the youngest (One of his proposed ideas for the movie back in the early `90s when 20th Century Fox wanted Nicktoon movies (and never got off the ground) was for Tommy to get a younger sibling at the very end).
- Darker and Edgier: All the great memories of Rugrats are on display here; life-threatening situations, murderous animals, psychological tension tearing the group apart, the works.
- What about the fight between Drew and Stu when he finds out Angelica is missing:
Stu: You're breaking my arm!
Drew: Only because I can't reach your neck!
- Deleted Scenes: The CBS broadcast included two scenes that were cut from the theatrical and video releases - the first one is about Stu and Didi having a nightmare about Dr. Lipschitz, and the second had the Rugrats dragging the Reptar Wagon up a hill while singing to an army chant (the latter scene was included in the print novelization). Sadly, barely anybody watched the CBS broadcast, and these scenes are not even included on the DVD release, but fortunately they have been retained in Nickelodeon's broadcasts of the film.
- Description Cut: Didi explains that Stu and Drew are brothers and they get along wonderfully. Cut to them fighting.
- Disney Death: Spike
- Disney Villain Death: The Wolf
- Everything's Better with Bob: The babies think God is called Bob.
- Everything's Better with Monkeys: Until Tommy opens Dil's banana baby food and turns it into a subversion.
- Fake-Out Opening: The Rugrats in a "Okeydokey Jones" fantasy sequence.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: The song "On Your Marks, Get Set, Ready, Go!" contains the lyric "blow-dry your asshole". Seriously, look it up on any lyrics site.
- Ironically, the same song contains the lyric "Turn on your radar."
- Not to mention the song sung by the babies in the maternity ward, chock full of dick jokes, including one where one baby stares down his diaper and sings "so THAT'S what that thing looks like!"
- As well as one baby commenting that her cord's been cut, which causes a male one to look in his diaper and exclaim "Consider yourself lucky!"
- Don't forget Lil's expression when Dil pulls the strap on Tommy's diaper and it falls.
- When the mothers are discussing how Dr. Lipschitz has predicted that Dil will be a girl, Charlotte starts to say "Born under Venus, look for a--" before her phone cuts her off.
- Dr. Lipschitz, who is revealed in one episode to be a borderline quack, has a name that sounds like "lip shits".
- Gross-Out Show: Dil pees on the other Rugrats as they attempt to change his diaper at one point.
- Or the "fountain" during the musical number. Ugh.
- Gross Up Close-Up
- Heroic Sacrifice: Spike
- Heroic BSOD: Lil has one after she thinks Phil was crushed by a tree.
- Hey, It's That Voice!: Tim Curry as Jerkass reporter Rex Pester; Whoopi Goldberg as a forest ranger.
- And David Spade as the other ranger.
- Moreover, the two forest rangers bear far more than a striking resemblance to them.
- Kick the Dog
- The Load: Dil
- Meaningful Name: Rex Pester
- My Name Is Not Durwood: When Rex Pester lists the babies that have gone missing he gets all their names wrong.
- Naked People Are Funny
- Predators Are Mean: The wolf. For the most part it acts like a normal wolf, but the one trait that puts it more on the evil end of the scale is that it spends most of the movie specifically targeting the babies.
- The Renaissance Age of Animation
- Shout-Out: "Okeydokey Jones". The Fake-Out Opening even has the theme song!
- The Stinger: After the closing credits, we see Grampa sleeping in the Reptar Wagon, which the goat then accidentally knocks onto the road.
- Toilet Humor
- What Do You Mean Its Not Symbolic: Tommy almost pours banana baby food on Dil, which would attract a group of vicious monkeys to harm him; the scene parallels the Sacrifice of Isaac.